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Undergraduate study

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Abigail Sykes

BSc (Hons) Midwifery

I would recommend Teesside, it is a modern well-rounded university, very welcoming with a great family feel, and you will make friends for life.

Abigail Sykes

Why university and why Teesside?

After serving as a combat medical technician in the British Army I found myself really interested in medicine, but didn’t know what I wanted to specialise in. On my last tour of Afghanistan I had the privilege of delivering a baby of a local women with a doctor at the end of a phone. This experience opened my eyes to a whole new world of medicine and I haven’t looked back. On returning home my heart was set on becoming a midwife. I found out about Teesside with its amazing reputation for midwifery training. I had interviews at a couple of universities, but Teesside shone for me, they were extremely welcoming.

Why did you choose midwifery?

I chose midwifery as you can’t get closer to one of life’s most magical moments, and each time feels just as magical as the last. To care for a woman and her baby in such an holistic way is amazing. Working as an autonomous practitioner whilst also working as part of a multidisciplinary team is a career path that shone above the rest for me.

What do you like most about your course?

As a practical learner I find the academic side of the course challenging but not unattainable. The lecturers are amazing, they go out of their way to help. On my course I have been diagnosed with dyslexia and I’ve been given all the help to achieve my potential. Academically, my favourite module has been Pathophysiology as I love knowing why women present with certain symptoms and conditions. I love the placements where I can get stuck into the practical side of things and learn the skills of the profession.

What do you think about the campus?

The facilities at Teesside are second to none. Students’ Union events are so diverse and well thought out, it’s a great place to socialise. I spend most of my time in the library. The health building is extremely modern with skills labs containing life like simulation dolls for training. As a cohort we love socialising with each other and often spend breaks in the local restaurants and bars. You have everything you need a stone’s throw and if you love Italian food and desserts, Middlesbrough does not disappoint. If you enjoy water sports, Tees Barrage is close by..

Are you a member of any clubs or societies, a course rep or student ambassador?

As chair of the Midwifery Society, my team and I get to organise many extra curricular activities, such as aromatherapy and hypnobirthing days, paternal mental health days and Down Syndrome Awareness days. We also organise social events and dinners. During Covid-19, we are in contact through the private facebook group and meet online weekly and arrange online social events such as quizzes.

Have you worked on any projects with businesses or been on a placement?

I have attended quite a few placements, this is where I feel my best, learning from midwives and improving my skills. I still have good nerves and butterflies on each shift because you don’t know what’s to come, every shift is different. I also work in the oil and gas industry during my holidays as an offshore medic.

What skills have you gained at Teesside that you feel will help you in your chosen career?

Teesside has helped me gain and expand on my communication skills. Working alongside women and their partners in one of the most scary and exciting times of their lives needs certain communication skills.
I would recommend Teesside, it is a modern well-rounded university, very welcoming with a great family feel, and you will make friends for life.
I hope to qualify, complete my preceptorship and work within Darlington Memorial Hospital, before gaining experience and skills that I can take around the world to hopefully improve maternity care in less fortunate countries.

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